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Posted Sept. 23, 2010   48984 views

Ron Conway v. Dave McClure

Michael Arlington of TechCrunch broke a very colorful story yesterday, now known as Angelgate, about a secret super-angel meeting that he crashed. In his blog, Arlington accused the angels of collusion and price fixing, conjuring up schemes to rip off entrepreneurs and fend off competitions from VCs and other new angels. http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/21/so-a-blogger-walks-into-a-bar/

One of the angels' in attendence, Dave McClure, came out in opposition to the allegations and wrote a passionate, vulgar-filled, rebuttal. http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2010/09/fire-in-the-valley.html

The saga did not end there. Ron Conway, Silicon Valley's most respected angel investor, sent an condemning email to the super-angels "throwing them under a bus" (in Dave McClure's words, revealed in an accidentally shared, and hastily deleted, tweet). http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/23/ron-conway-angel-email/

Kudos to Michael Arlington for breaking the news. All of these are wonderful reads, and extremely relevant to entrepreneurs like me.

But what does this have to do with Tagxedo? Remember Tagxedo' can "turn words -- famous speeches, ... -- into stunning artworks", right? I could not resist but took Dave McClure's swear-happy blog and Ron Conway's high-octane email and turned them into Tagxedoes...

Dave McClure:

Ron Conway:

I use the Deja Vu option so that the same word are assigned the same colors in both Tagxedoes. A couple of very very rough observations:

  • Ron Conway always misspells entrepreneurs (as "entrepenuers")
  • Dave McClure swears a lot
  • Financial aspects are important to Dave (duh) -- price, valuation, capital, investors
  • Dave thinks in terms of startups, Ron more in terms of entrepreneurs.

Of course the email and the blog are of different tones and on different subjects, making this a rather fuzzy and imprecise comparison. Nonetheless it's a nice example of using Tagxedo to put things in perspective, in very short notice.

Moreover, while you may argue that the first 3 points are either trivial or easily inferable, the last one is not. It is a subtle yet useful insight. I made similar observation in the Fiorina v. Boxer debate http://blog.tagxedo.com/the-fiorina-v-boxer-showdown-in-tagxedo.

Hope you find this interesting.

P. S. For completeness, here's what Michael Arlington's said in the original exposé.

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P. P. S. The following are followup discussion between Dave and me, in the original Posterous post.

Dave McClure:

nice post, and the tag clouds are pretty cool.

that said, not sure how much you can learn about my thinking from just one blog post (except that I do swear a lot). but anyway I get your not-that- subtle conclusion. perhaps.

maybe worthwhile to conduct that analysis on a larger sample size... Ron doesn't blog or tweet, however you can review anything I've written on my > blog for the past 4-5 years (or 8 if you go back to the old blog).

pretty sure I use both "startup" and "entrepreneur" frequently, as well as "geek"... in fact, they're all in the title subheader for my blog. (note that entrepreneur is hard to spell/type, so you might also look for "founder").

anyway, worth the read & I do like the visualizations.

Hardy Leung:

Of course, it is silly to over-analyze word cloud, given the limited information collected and utilized. Occasionally it provides for certain insight that is otherwise hard or time consuming to get.

I did an analysis on all 9 of your "best of" articles in the "Enterpreneurship and VC" category. You are right. "Startups" shows up prominently, and "entrepreneurs" is also right there (not so much of "geek" though). The swearing is minimal. "Marketing" is much bigger than "product":

Image: http://i.imgur.com/OQYw5.jpg

Animated: http://www.tagxedo.com/artful/aae1d73f222d4fa3

I didn't run your whole blog but if you're interested feel free to send me the raw text.

I enjoyed this saga, like many did, perhaps at your expense. It's certainly much more interesting than the same-old Apple v. Android clash. Not to mention an excellent opportunity to have some data visualization fun (and ruthless conclusion making) :D

Take it easy, man. You're still a good guy in my book.

Dave McClure:

thanks hardy, much appreciated. surprising about the less swearing... wouldn't have guessed that.

cool visualizations :)